Lucy and Eugene look back at events from the past fortnight in Paris, celebrate trophy success on the WTA and ATP Challenger tours and look ahead to grass-court season
• French Open Women Naomi Osaka won her opening-round match and then withdrew from the tournament following the Grand Slams’ heavy-handed statement regarding players refusing to do press which included “defaulting” players from future events. The world no 2 said she is “gonna take some time away from the court”. Started a global conversation about the mental health of athletes.
Coco Gauff reached her first Grand Slam quarter-final – didn’t drop a set en route, beating Ana Krunic in round one, Wang Qiang in round two, Jen Brady in round three (Brady retired after losing the first set 6-1), and Ons Jabeur in round four, before losing to eventual champion Barbora Krejcikova. Gauff has now qualified for USA Olympics team and is edging closer to the top 20.*Also played doubles with Venus – lost to the 13th seeds in the first round but nobody was watching the result.
Sloane Stephens made a run to the fourth round – beat a resilient Carla Suarez Navarro from a set down in round one, then (9) Karolina Pliskova in round two, (18) Karolina Muchova in round three – both in straight sets – before falling to Krejcikova. Stephens looks like she’s getting closer to her best and it’s great to see.
Serena Williams reached the fourth round where she fell to semi-finalist Elena Rybakina in straight sets. Played some quality stuff against Danielle Collins in round three – won 6-4, 6-4. Considering her record on clay this year coming into Roland Garros, Serena put together a good run which bodes well for Wimbledon.
Notable mentions… Madison Keys reached the third round, the straight-sets win over Leylah Fernandez in round two was her standout performance.
Qualifier and French Open debutante Hailey Baptiste beat Anna Blinkova, a top-100 player, in the first round before going down to Sofia Kenin in round two. Great couple of weeks for the 19-year-old.
Jasmine Paolini also reached round two where she fell to semi-finalist Maria Sakkari. Inspired her to make a run in Bol, Croatia… more on that later.
Round one exits… Wildcard and WTA Tour debutante Oceane Babel, 17, put up a good fight against (5) Elina Svitolina before going down 2-6, 5-7. Venus lost fell to (32) Ekaterina Alexandrova and Heather Watson came up short against Zarina Diyas.
• French Open Men Mikael Ymer made a run to the third round came – back from two sets to one down to beat Roberto Carballes Baena in the first round, then beat Gael Monfils in round two – his first win over a player inside the top 20 – before falling to Jannik Sinner.
Monfils beat Albert Ramos-Vinolas in front of his parents and other family members. Was quite emotional after the match. Lost to Ymer in round two in four sets.
Round one exits… Jo-Wilfried Tsonga fell to Yoshihito Nishioka in four sets, Felix Auger-Aliassime also fell in four to Andreas Seppi and Frances Tiafoe fell to Steve Johnson in five.
• French Open Juniors Shout out to Arthur Fils and Giovanni Mpetshi Perricard from France. The duo won the boys’ doubles champions on the same day Fils turned 17. Fils also finished runner-up in singles – beat Mpetshi Perricard in the semis.
American Robin Montgomery reached the quarter-finals in the girls’ singles. Babel made a run to the third round, as did Switzerland’s Sebastianna Scilipoti.
American wildcard and Junior Slam debutante Clervie Ngounoue, 14, reached the second round as did Switzerland’s Chelsea Fontenel.
Mathilde Ngijol-Carre, 13, and Maelie Monfils, 16, both made their Junior Slam debuts.
• Taylor Townsend’s remarkable story The former junior world No 1 writes about the racism she faced in juniors; overcoming depression; and feeling more at peace with her place in the world among other things in a must-read entry on The Players’ Tribune website.
• A weekend full of finals Paolini won her first WTA Tour title in Bol, Croatia. Now at career-high 87 in the rankings.
Auger-Aliassime, playing in his eighth ATP Tour championship match, finished runner-up to Marin Cilic in the MercedesCup final.
Tiafoe won his second Challenger title in a row – first on grass – after getting it done in Nottingham. Beat good friend Denis Kudla in the final.
Also on the Challenger Tour, Christopher Eubanks won in Orlando and Elias Ymer finished runner-up in Lyon.
• Upcoming events bett1Open Berlin (WTA 500) Keys opens against Magdelena Frech; Baptiste takes on Jessica Pegula; and Asia Muhammad faces Petra Martic. Both Baptiste and Muhammad chalked off some nice wins in qualifying.
Viking Classic Birmingham (WTA 250) Watson takes on Viktorija Golubic
NOVENTI Open Halle (ATP 500) Monfils, seeded eighth, takes on Lloyd Harris. Auger-Aliassime plays Hubert Hurkacz.
cinch Championships Queens (ATP 500) Tiafoe takes on Aljaz Bedene.
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